Home: Where I Seek, I Find Myself delves into the notion of home as a concrete or abstract concept. From heritage and community to the physical body, or the place we lay our head at night, home is central to our being. It is often a defining element in our life’s narrative. Where we come from, whom we identify with, and how we perceive ourselves, are each vital components of the self. Despite this fact, the notion of home is a notoriously elusive concept. At times we long for it, have an urge to transform it, clasp to our belonging of, or are willing to release it all in search of a new home.
In this exhibition, nine women photographers of African descent reveal unique and often unfamiliar stories within regions that we think we are most familiar with, the United States, South Africa, Brazil, Ethiopia. Each woman uses her lens to dig deep into varying perspectives of home, posing questions, seeking answers, and unveiling the subjectivity of truths.
This exhibition is inspired by our independently published anthology, MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora featuring photographic works of various genres created by 118 African and diasporic artists, representing 27 nations. Through our books and exhibitions, we are on a mission to promote an international representative voice of women photographers from continental Africa and its Diaspora.
Through photography we have both developed a curatorial eye, adding to the conversations that photographer Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe’s began in her groundbreaking 1986 book, Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers. We continue to be inspired by, and add to, the prolific works of our mentor Dr. Deborah Willis, MacArthur Fellow, art historian, and photographer.
Here we shape a new photographic legacy as each woman addresses her concern through her powerful lens.
Adama Delphine Fawundu was born in Brooklyn, NY to parents from Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea, West Africa. In 2018, she completed her MFA in Visual Arts at Columbia University. Ms. Fawundu was awarded a 2018 Rema Hort Mann Emerging Artist Grant and is currently an artist-in-residence at the Center for Book Arts. Ms. Fawundu is a co-founder and author of the book and journal MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. She was included in OkayAfrica’s “100 Women making an impact on Africa and its diaspora” in 2018. Her work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, the International Center of Photography, the Lagos Photo Festival, and the Brighton Photo Biennial 2016 (UK), among others. 2019 solo exhibitions of her works include The Sacred Of Isis at the African American Museum of Philadelphia and Crush Curatorial in Chelsea, NYC.
Laylah Amatullah Barrayn is an award-winning documentary and portrait photographer working in the medium for 20 years. She is the co-author of MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. It is the first anthology in nearly 30 years that highlights photography produced by women of African descent. Ms. Barrayn is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. Her work has been supported with grants and fellowships from Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies, the Research Foundation of the City University of New York, En Foco and The Brooklyn Arts Council. Barrayn was a 2018 finalist for the Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize at the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University. She has sat on juries for contests from Getty Images, FotoEvidence, The Fence and Three Rivers Arts Festival.